‘Student’ is not one’s sole identity; teenagers should explore personal interests

Camille (CJ) Park, co-editor in chief

After a student lab aid walked through my math class to hand the teacher a missing graduation gown form for Camille Park, I gave it a glance and tossed it in the trash.

I’m not going to graduation. I’m graduating, but I’d just rather spend those three hours elsewhere, not donned in blue and not waiting for an empty decorative envelope with the piece of paper that says I passed.

For some students and their families, the graduation ceremony is a grandiose deal, the ending and beginning, the cap off to four years of hard work. For me, I can safely say that I wasn’t raised on those kind of sentimental notes considering my parents dropped off my sister at her graduation, left, then came back and greeted her at the exit.

I’m not peppy. If you were to measure my peppiness on a scale from a rock to Mama Nelson, I’d be a rock. I’d be the dirt on a rock.

If I were to go out to a social event, I prefer it not to be affiliated with school. I believe in the separation of school and my personal life.

That being said, I congratulate and respect those who have put forth so much effort towards South – those who are in eight or more clubs and have full schedules and like to dress up in blue and gold and socialize with other school peers. That’s just not my cup of tea, but for others, South is a large part of their identity, and for good reason too.

We spend about four years of our lives here, we make friends here and spend seven hours a day here, but I’m a student at school and a student when I study, but other than that, I’m me and I try not to let school infiltrate my thoughts.

“Your job is to be a student.”

How many times have you heard that? Maybe from a teacher, parent or some other adult figure. The thing is, a student is not your only identity.

Seven hours of school and then seven hours of homework should not be considered the norm. I have a life outside of school, one that my teachers aren’t aware of, one that some of my peers aren’t even aware of.

I’m a student, an editor, intern, sales associate, traveler, scuba diver, bike-maker, homemade tattoo artist and I have responsibilities that don’t require me to fill in the blanks on some worksheets or dedicate two hours researching some topic that I was assigned.

To those of you who pride themselves so much in your academic work and can’t stand the thought of letting yourself down or your teachers or guardians down, let me just say this: your life does not revolve around school and you are more than just a student, more than a grade and more than what your peers and teachers think of you.

Don’t be afraid to set aside that pile of homework and do what you want to do. Just because you can’t put it on the CommonApp, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a valid activity in your life.

As much as I appreciate South and all the opportunities it has given me, it is my choice to separate myself as much as possible from any further relations. It is where I go to take my classes. It is not my second home. I will not cry when I leave.

If you’re the go-getter, spirit-mum buyer, ‘Get Loud’ enthusiast then that’s absolutely respectable, but if you’re the introverted individual who is also a student, that is also respectable, and don’t feel pressured to be part of the blue and gold crowd.

You will not see me at prom, or senior night, or graduation or any school-sponsored event. Yes, people like me exist throughout this school. No, we’re not missing out.